The Rite of Spring at 100
The Carolina Performing Arts presented a sneak peek of their 2012-2013 schedule to a gathering of their most ardent supporters last Wednesday evening May 16, 2012 at Memorial Hall on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Executive Director, Emil Kang, took us all on a historical journey to 100 years ago. Here in the United States the Girl Scouts had just been founded by Juliette Gordon Low and the famous cherry trees were being planted by the hundreds in Washington, DC. Meanwhile across the Atlantic in Paris, France a shocking and revolutionary artistic performance would be about to radically change music, ballet and art forever.
Kang animatedly explained to us all about the night of May 29, 1912 at the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” The piece is about ancient rituals that mankind traditionally used to supplant the land and spirits to produce abundance as they emerged from winter to spring. The work displayed outrageous costumes, unusual choreography and a disconcerting story line about the pagan sacrifice of a young girl to appease the Gods. Everything about it was different– Stravinsky’s score featured a bassoon solo played in a higher range than anyone else had ever done; the ballet choreography was the reverse of the basic position with feet turned in rather than out; and it is said that the dissonant harmonies and jarring, irregular rhythms invoked an actual riot among the audience.
Carolina Performing Arts is presenting Rite 100 in partnership with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences and Institute for the Arts and Humanities. This celebration will feature 11 new works, nine world premieres (yes, you read that right!) and two U.S. premieres by some of the most talented artists of today. The people who attended the event on May 16 are supporters of the arts who, along with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, make it possible for a quaint town like Chapel Hill to be revered arts destination. The Rite of Spring shattered everyone’s expectations as will, I believe, this year’s incredible line-up of performances at Memorial Hall.
Be sure to view the new schedule or support Carolina Performing Arts.
Raymond B. Farrow, III, the Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives with Betty Kenan.
From left to right Betsy Hayes, Cliff Butler and Mary Moore.
Chapelboro’s own Jan Bollick and Art Chansky.
From left to right Susan Slatkoff, Ron Strauss, Emil Kang and Bruce Carney.
From left to right WCHL owners Barry Leffler and Jim Heavner with Woody Coley.
Be sure to look for this amazing bus around Chapelboro!
Thanks for reading! I am always looking for great photo stories to tell in the Chapelboro area. If you know of someone or something that should be documented please write to me at email@example.com.
Basketball and the small cracks in the wall of segregation
The best thing about the new movie and best-selling book, “The Help,” may be something other than the compelling story and the view into the relationships between white women and their black servants.
So what is this “best thing?”
“The Help” has us talking, thinking, remembering, reflecting, and reconsidering. It reminds us of friendships between some whites and some blacks that were making small cracks in that great wall of segregation.
Like “The Help,” a new North Carolina novel pushes us back to 1963 and requires us to re-experience relationships between whites and blacks during those times.
Clyde Edgerton’s “Night Train” is set in a small North Carolina town, where two teenaged aspiring musicians, one black, the other white, struggle to build a friendship over and around the walls of segregation.
When he talks about his new book, Edgerton shares a poignant back-story. The fictional black teenager is modeled on a real person named Larry Lime Holman. Holman, like Edgerton, grew up in Bethesda, a small town near Durham.
Although they lived in the same town, Larry Lime’s black school and Clyde’s white school never competed against each other in athletics. But both the white and black athletes hung around Clyde’s uncle’s grocery store. One day they started arguing about which group had the best basketball players.
Larry Lime, Clyde and the other boys decided to do something that broke the rules of their segregated town. They decided to break into the small Old Bethesda School gym and play a game of basketball, whites against blacks.
“They had nine guys and we just had five,” Edgerton remembers. “And those who weren’t on the court just stood in line waiting to replace a player who got tired.”
Larry Lime’s team “just wore us down,” Clyde says.
From that report, I assume that Larry Lime’s team won. But Clyde says he does not remember for sure.
Clyde and Larry Lime got away with their secret basketball game. But a few days later, when the two boys were shooting baskets at a goal in Clyde’s backyard, Clyde’s dad came out of the house and told the boys that Larry Lime would have to leave. The neighbors might complain.
Clyde fictionalized this real story in an earlier novel, “The Floatplane Notebooks.”
Retired Chapel Hill pharmacist Cliff Butler remembers a similar story from 1963 when his Dunn High School basketball team coached by Dick Knox (later deputy executive director and supervisor of officials for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association) won its league championship.
That same year, Harnett High, the black school, also had a great team.
The white players and the black players hung around Cliff’s dad’s drugstore. There was some friendly bantering about which team was better, and they decided to settle the question.
So they agreed to meet in the gym at Harnett High, everybody knowing that it would be too dangerous to bring black players to the white high school gym. The black team won a close game, Cliff remembers, thanks in part to “a little guy on their team who shot the lights out that day.”
The next day, word got out in the community about the game. Mr. Hutaff, who ran an insurance agency next door to Cliff’s dad’s drugstore, pulled Cliff aside and told him that he had heard about the game. “It had better not happen again or there will be hell to pay.”
A more secret and more illegal interracial basketball game took place in 1944 between the Duke Medical School team and the North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University).
These basketball stories were tiny cracks in the wall of segregation. But it was the accumulation of many tiny cracks that helped bring down that wall. So, every one of those little cracks in is worth remembering and celebrating today.